Last week, the police arrested 38 suspects in an investigation into WhatsApp fraud (Friend-in-Emergency) and bank account fraud. 34 others have been reported and will be arrested later. It concerns a large-scale investigation by the district police of Rotterdam South, but the suspects come from all over the Netherlands. They were arrested throughout the Netherlands, transferred to Rotterdam and interrogated. In view of the large number of detainees, the largest mobile detention center was used for this purpose. 133 money mules were identified in the study. Those who were not arrested last week have already been arrested, are still being arrested, a ‘stop call’ is being conducted or are being reported.
People who are recruited to have their accounts abused by criminals are called money mules. When people give their debit/account and PIN, victims of internet scams deposit money into this money mule’s account. With this, a money mule is guilty of laundering illegal money and the criminal remains anonymous. The money mule often thinks that this is not punishable, but thinks it is providing someone with a service. Tackling money mules disrupts the process of digitized cybercrime and increases the chance of identifying the main perpetrators behind these cybercrime crimes.
Peter, one of the investigators of this investigation, states: “We have seen an explosive increase in the number of Friend-In-Emergency fraud cases for a number of years. Money mules are recruited on the street or online to open a bank account for a small amount and give the login details to criminals for sometimes as little as 10 euros. This is often done via snapchat, telegram or Instagram on pages with titles such as ‘make money quickly’. In this research we want to tackle the money mules, but especially the criminals behind them. We also want to warn future victims and money mules about this form of fraud.”
38 arrests throughout the Netherlands
It concerns 38 suspects, ranging in age from 18 to 69 years old. The suspects come from nine different provinces of the Netherlands; Drenthe, Friesland, Gelderland, Groningen, North Brabant, North Holland, Overijssel, Zeeland and South Holland. On Monday and Tuesday, these suspects were arrested and transported to Rotterdam for questioning. They are all suspected of money laundering and fraud, in which victims have lost large amounts of money. The total amount of damage in this investigation concerns 133 files in which one or more money mules were involved and concerns more than 300,000 euros.
“We see that the criminals behind the money mules are especially interested in bank accounts of banks that mainly work online and that support contactless withdrawals at ATMs. The account is opened within a few minutes, the criminals do not have to wait for a bank card and can therefore make many victims in a short time,” said Peter.
38 arrests after extensive investigation into money mules
Source link 38 arrests after extensive investigation into money mules